Conroy: Internet has parents out of their depth

Parents expect the government and the tech industry to give them a hand in protecting their children from inappropriate content, according to Federal Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy.

Parents expect the government and the tech industry to give them a hand in protecting their children from inappropriate content, according to Federal Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy.

Parents find their children's Internet use more difficult to manage than television or mobile phones, Conroy said at an Industry Internet Association event last night, quoting an Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) report.

"Many parents are concerned on how easy it is for children to access harmful content," he continued, saying that according to ACMA, two of five parents have expressed some level of concern about their children's Internet usage.

Children are not helping parents in their fight against inappropriate content, according to Conroy, quoting a Symantec report which revealed that 38 percent of kids said they had accessed a site their parents would not approve of.

Although parents have to take responsibility for their children's actions online, they might expect government and industry to take a role to help protect children, Conroy said.

Labor is pitching content filtering as an answer to online security fears. While Conroy acknowledged industry concerns about ISP filtering, mentioning specifically speed reductions, he said he was sure with industry help a workable solution would be found.

"The government does not believe that children using the Internet should be exposed to this material," Conroy said.

ACMA will hold a laboratory trial, according to Conroy, and then conduct a pilot trial in a real world environment.

However, the Internet's disadvantages are balanced by its advantages according to the Minister: "The computer and Internet are powerful sources for information and entertainment, but there is also the potential for malicious behaviour with harmful effect, especially for children and teenagers," Conroy said.

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